The Passive Museum Is Over
The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention was born from a desire to encourage kids of all ages to think like inventors. STEAM powered learning techniques (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) and hands-on workshops put the power to invent in the hands of the community.
The Cade is the namesake of Dr. Robert Cade, Gainesville’s original inventor of Gatorade. Dr. Cade’s legacy is carried by his daughter, Phoebe, alongside a team of dedicated specialists.
When the Cade approached Parisleaf, our conversation initially centered on marketing campaigns and small enhancements to their existing brand identity. But we realized what they truly needed was a complete brand overhaul in order to complement their landmark building and the surrounding environment. Most importantly, they needed a brand that would serve the Museum’s intention to channel excitement and spark creativity in young minds from zero to ninety.
We set out to understand what makes the Cade different from the 650 other museums in Florida. We spoke with other museums. We sat down with museum-focused design firms. We chatted with parents and kids. We took many tours of the space under construction. We even sat in on some Cade lab courses, and learned how to make ice volcanoes and fireworks in a jar.
We developed a comprehensive discovery report and brand strategy, including findings on audience patterns, competitive analysis, and recommendations on messaging opportunities. Our research led us back to the fundamental purpose of the museum: to celebrate the creative spirit, encourage the community to employ ingenious solutions, and help people think like inventors despite failure and hardship.
An intensive workshop came next, where we identified sources of inspiration for our design phase. Working closely with the Cade team, we gathered brand case studies and ephemera that broke apart and rebuilt themselves, popped and fizzed, spun and flipped. We looked for examples of tone, typography, color, logos, illustrations, and photo styles that encouraged the viewer to think and interact, and that would challenge expectations. By the end of the workshop, we had created a broad and delightfully strange sandbox to play in.
The logo is a conceptual mash-up of an iris, a spark, and the Cade building’s “oculus,” a central architectural feature that opens to the sky.
Inspired by the witty, idiosyncratic writing of Marshall McLuhan, we developed a playful and optimistic tone of voice that encourages the reader to take a closer look, to investigate, and to create with mindful intent.
We wrote a three-for-one tagline for the Cade, which can appear as a one-two punch or with each phrase standing alone. The tagline serves as both an invitation to Museum guests as well as a mantra for staff members.
This identity celebrates unlikely juxtapositions and prototypes held together by duct tape and wires. Angular serif sits next to smooth sans. Questing line work symbolizes the circuitous path of invention, sprawling across business cards, brochures, banners, and wall graphics.
In considering the Cade’s sub-brands, we saw an opportunity to iterate on the rings and spokes of the hero mark. The Fab Lab, Creativity Lab, Cade Garage (home to Dr. Cade’s broad collection of vintage Studebakers), Living Inventors Series, and the annual Cade Prize were all given logos to complement their specific function and marry with the primary Museum logo.
The identity was summed up in a brand toolkit that equipped Museum staff with everything they needed to start putting the identity to work in their marketing efforts. The Parisleaf team has continued to serve the Cade on larger projects such as permanent banners and wall graphics.
The Museum’s grand opening is scheduled for spring 2018. While the brand’s impact on museum-goers has yet to be determined, the revitalized vision has played a critical role in fundraising efforts. The identity has also been warmly received by Gainesville city officials, business leaders, and families. The Cade is a great benefit to our community, and we are proud to have helped position this institution for lasting impact as they spark wonder in the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and inventors.